Manchester City and Norway superstar Erling Haaland played no part in his country’s 6-0 victory over Jordan in an international friendly on Thursday evening.
The 23-year-old centre-forward, who has started the ongoing club campaign in staggering fashion, was named among the substitutes for his nation as they played out one of two contests during the ongoing two-week international break.
Norway held a dominant 4-0 lead over Jordan by the half-time interval, as goals from Antonio Nusa, Kristoffer Ajer, Jorgen Strand Larsen, and Fredrik Andre Bjorkan put the result beyond any doubt, despite the absence of Erling Haaland.
The second-half was much more of the same but without the four-goal haul, as Bard Finne and HUgo Vetlesen added to the scoreline and ensured that the goals continued to flow despite Haaland registering no minutes of action himself.
While there had been some concern that Haaland’s absence was due to fitness concerns, Norway manager Ståle Solbakken spoke before the contest and reassured onlookers that the City man’s omission from the starting line-up was merely due to rest being needed.
In quotes provided by TV2, Solbakken stated prior to kick-off that while Erling Haaland was named among the substitutes for the match, the Manchester City striker “probably won’t” be involved.
“It is about a conversation with him that I have had on the same level as the 13-14 others who are eligible to start,” Solbakken explained.
He continued, “They (Manchester City) started the pre-season 14 days later than everyone else because of the Champions League (final). There is a small backlog, which is getting smaller and smaller every day.
“Then we think it makes the most sense for him (Erling Haaland) to build up and train with Bjørn Vidar (Norway men’s national team physical trainer) so that he is 100 per cent by Tuesday (against Georgia in a Euro 2024 qualifier).”
Manchester City will almost certainly be grateful for the understanding and man-management shown by the Norway coach, as the Premier League champions have relied so heavily on the former Borussia Dortmund frontman’s goalscoring prowess once again this season.
Upon the conclusion of the international break, City travel to the London Stadium to take on West Ham in Premier League action, before refocussing attentions towards Red Star Belgrade in their Champions League group stage opener.
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